In our first blog, we gave a brief mention to one of our most exciting partnerships that we have here at Browne Trading. That is our exclusive in the United States partnership with Veta La Palma. If you are interested in the future of sustainable fish farming and you have not yet heard about Veta la Palma, then this article is for you!
Veta la Palma is more than just a sustainable fish farming operation. Nationally acclaimed and James Beard Award Winning chef Dan Barber got so excited about what they were doing in Southern Spain that he gave a must-see Ted Talk about them. Dan Barber is a staunch supporter of the sustainable fish farming movement and argues Veta la Palma are one of the leaders of this movement.
We make it our mission here at Browne to search out new and revolutionary operations that are changing the face of sustainable fish farming across the world. Read on to learn why we decided to become the Exclusive Provider for Veta la Palma!
Veta la Palma – A Brief History
The guys at Veta la Palma have done more than just create an aqua farm that is producing some of the best seafood product on the market today. To understand the dramatic and transformative effect the farm has had on the biodiversity of the estate you have to first examine the history of how the land was used before the farm was introduced.
Pre 1982, which was when the Veta la Palma Estate changed ownership, the thousands of acres of wet and marshland on the estate was completely drained. This was to support an Argentinean Company who modified the wetland into Cattle Ranches. The effect of the drainage was both dramatic and devastating to the ecology and biodiversity of the land. Amongst other effects, it served to wipe out up to 90 percent of the bird life that occupied the estate.
So what happened after 1982? A company with an environmental conscience purchased the land and thus began the transformation and revival of the land as an ecological epicenter.
With the introduction of high-quality water the estate was transformed from being an ecological disaster to being an ecological sanctuary. The perfect environment for fish, crustaceans and other marine life was now possible. Thus, the Veta la Palma fish farm began.
There are many amazing things about the Veta la Palma fish farm. Veta la Palma does not just sustain itself like many aquafarms. It actually improves the environment in which it exists. This is what our President here at Browne Trading, Rod ‘Browne’ Mitchell, calls “Sustainability Plus.”
So what is Sustainability Plus? Rod Mitchel defines “Sustainability Plus” as “a biodynamic ecosystem in which the contained environment is enhanced by the wildlife that makes up the natural system.” Raised in free-flowing waterway channels, Veta la Palma’s food chain starts with simple microalgae, produced naturally by the sun and waters. Mysis shrimp thrive on the algae, larger Camarones shrimp feed on the mysis, and the fish feed on the Camarones. Humans, in turn, harvest the fish for haute cuisine.
The process at Veta la Palma works so harmoniously with the environment that the water that comes into the farm actually gets cleaned and filtered. This means, quite incredibly in our opinion, that the farm is not just beneficial to the land surrounding the estate, but also to the sea where the water reenters. The farmers at Veta la Palma describe their whole process as “fish farming that is extensive, not intensive.”
Another glowing reflection of how amazing the transformation at Veta la Palma has been is the staggering increase in bird species that occupy the estate. Draining the area of water led to the death of almost all birds that made the land their home. Now the farm can reach numbers of 600,000 birds, covering some 250 species, of which more than 50 are in some sort of threat in other areas. Veta la Palma has now become fundamental to the conservation of European birds. Something to note about this is that the farm is so abundant with marine life that the biologists are not even worried about how much fish is consumed by the birds. In fact, they can determine the health of the ecosystem by looking at the vibrant colors of the birds.
The result of Veta la Palma’s ground-breaking farming practices is seafood that has an unbeatable quality regarding freshness, texture, and flavor. Biologists and aquaculture experts monitor and oversee the growth and health conditions of the fish from fry to harvest to ensure this first class quality.
Once matured to market size, the fish are harvested by hand in low-impact seine nets, immediately put into slush ice, and shipped for sale, resulting in absolute freshness upon arriving stateside. The practices at Veta la Palma are rapidly gaining acclaim not just in Europe but in the U.S. as well as a unique model of both farming and aquaculture. In 2009, TIME Magazine recognizing their efforts for not only raising superior fish but for setting the tone for a global focus on truly sustainable and responsible aquaculture practices.
Multi-award winning “Outstanding Chef” Dan Barber of Blue Hill Farm is a major supporter of Veta la Palma, which was touched upon in the introduction to this article. Here is what he has to say about Veta la Palma Seafood.
“Veta la Palma’s fish is unlike any farmed fish I’ve ever tasted,” he says. “It’s unlike any fish I’ve ever tasted. It’s sweet and clean – like tasting a bite of the ocean.”
Check out Chef Barber’s Ted Talk below! If you are interested in reading the transcript for this talk click here!
Why not give it a try!
You can experience why we, and other top chefs in the United States, are so excited about what Veta la Palma is doing by ordering their products from our website today!
You can, from Browne Trading, experience the entire Veta la Palma food chain in your kitchen. As of right now, you can order Spanish Sea Bass (Lubina) for next day delivery. This is the fish that Chef Barber fell in love with when he visited the farm. You can order the Camarones Shrimp which the Lubina eat, and you can also try the Plancton Marino which the shrimp eat!